Action is always on in the mid-sized sedan segment in the Indian car Industry. In the last one year, we’ve seen the launch of the new generation of the Hyundai Verna as well as the Toyota Yaris. Now country’s leading car maker Maruti Suzuki has launched a facelift of the segment leader, the Ciaz. The Ciaz has been one of the most affordable bets in the mid-sized sedan segment for a while now. The facelift has been launched at a starting price of Rs 8.19 lakh. We were in Bangalore to find out if the new car remains as value for money as it was with all the changes and these new prices.
The new Ciaz sees a lot of changes on the exterior, especially on the front. The bumper is redesigned so is the grille. It’s sleek and the use of chrome adds to the appeal. The new projector lamps now get LED DRLs which is a segment first. Even the fog lamps get LEDs and they’re surrounded by chrome which makes the car look more premium. The profile looks somewhat similar to the outgoing car but the door handles and the window line now get chrome. New 16-inch alloy wheels are there too. The rear gets new LED combination lamps which look rather big in size. Down below reflector lamps with chrome look like faux exhausts and do a good job of making the car look sporty. Overall the road presence has definitely improved and purely in terms of looks the Ciaz is now definitely amongst the best in the segment.
While some things change others remain the same in the new Ciaz. The faux wood trim on the dual tone dash is what you notice instantly. There’s a new instrument cluster that comes with a 4.2-inch TFT screen, which provides a lot of information including about the smart hybrid system that we’ll talk about in a bit. . The cluster also offers eco illumination and changes colours according to the driving pattern. The 7-inch touch screen system seen on a lot of other cars is there as well and works with both Apple car play and Android auto. The seats and the steering get leather on them but that along with the touch screen is reserved only for the top variants. Ergonomically the car scores well as there are enough storage spaces on offer. However, the Ciaz does not still get a sunroof as is the case with a few other of its rivals. The second row is seriously generous in terms of space, gives ample knee room and thigh support. Plus you also have AC vents and a centre arm rest here. Despite the impressive space on the second row, boot space is rather generous at 510 liters, which makes the Ciaz a good practical option in the segment.
The biggest change on the new Ciaz is the new 1.5 liter K15 petrol engine. It gives a maximum power of 104 PS and a 139 Nm of peak torque both of which are better than the outgoing car. There’s a 5-speed manual variant on offer along with a 4-speed automatic variant. While the former is good to drive and has a smooth & precise gearbox the latter is more suited to the slow moving city traffic. Next generation of the smart hybrid system makes its presence felt on the new Ciaz. Maruti has added an additional lithium-ion battery in the car, which provides more torque for faster acceleration when needed and also helps in achieving higher fuel efficiency. Maruti is promising a mileage of at least 20 kmpl on all variants of the new Ciaz. The car is also equipped with cruise control and auto headlamps for a more convenient drive.
Ride & Handling
Comfortable ride quality and good handling were always positive traits on the Ciaz and that continues on this facelift as well. The suspension is tuned well to take on the demands of challenging Indian road conditions and you do feel insulated from all the bumps that the car might encounter. Owing to its aerodynamic design there’s hardly anything to complain about the car’s handling and the stability on offer is impressive. All variants of the new Ciaz get 2 Airbags as standard, even the top ones. ESP with hill hold has been put as a standard feature on all automatic variants.
The new Ciaz scores well on a lot of fronts, more so its design, the premium feel and the comfortable drive it offers. Yes it does miss out on some features offered by some of its rivals remember you’re also paying lesser money to own this one. While the auto models start at Rs 9.8 lakh the Diesel range begins at Rs.9.19 lakh. Top diesel and petrol variants are both similarly priced at Rs 10.97 lakh (ex-showroom). So looking at the package maintaining the top spot on the leader board doesn’t seem to be a daunting task.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars